Ontario distracted driving fine near $500

Fines for Ontario drivers who plead guilty to distracted driving now begin at $490, with three demerit points. Technically, the distracted driving fines that can be imposed by a judge range from $300 to $1,000 under a law that took effect Sept. 1. The set $490 fine is for drivers who plead guilty. (It includes victim fine surcharges and court fees.) Those who are convicted also receive the points vs. the driver's license. Most distracted drivers in Ontario will receive that punishment. The update to the Highway Traffic Act -- approved by lawmakers June 2 -- is the work of transportation … [Read more...]

New N.Y. penalties, suspensions in effect

New York drivers who text message or use handheld cell phones are looking at new maximum fines for the offenses. Young and new drivers, meanwhile, are flirting with a yearlong loss of their licenses for electronic distracted driving violations. "Driving habits are developed early, and we are sending a message that texting while driving is unsafe, unacceptable and downright dangerous," Gov. Andrew Cuomo (pictured) said in announcing the tougher distracted driving penalties and suspensions. "There have been far too many avoidable tragedies due to texting while driving, and with these new … [Read more...]

Wash. state panel: Rewrite cell phone laws

The state of Washington was an early leader in distracted driving laws, but a transportation panel says it's fallen behind the times. Washington's Traffic Safety Commission seeks a complete and unambiguous ban on the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Washington state law "doesn't preclude you from looking at Facebook or the Internet as you're driving," said Darrin Grondel, director of the Traffic Safety Commission. The new legislation, expected to be introduced early in the 2015-16 session, would cover smartphone activities such as accessing social media sites and emailing. … [Read more...]

Vermont cell phone law in effect

It's hands off or pay up for Vermont drivers attached to their cell phones. The state's first handheld cell phone law went into effect Oct. 1. Fines are up to $200 for first offenders but no points unless the violation occurs in a work zone (two points). Subsequent violations can bring penalties of $250 to $500. Vermont Transportation Secretary Brian Searles foresees "a major adjustment" for state drivers. He said the law was needed to combat distracted driving, which has reached "epidemic proportions" in New England. Meanwhile, in Maryland, "Jake's Law" also took effect Oct. 1. … [Read more...]

In Maryland, Jake’s Law approved

Deadly distractions won't be tolerated in Maryland. The state's governor signed "Jake's Law" on April 14, bringing closure of a kind to the family of a 5-year-old who died in a 2011 distracted driving crash. The law, which takes effect Oct. 1, means distracted drivers who kill or seriously injure others through their negligence are faced with a year's incarceration and a $5,000 fine. In addition, 12 points will be assessed vs. the driver's license. The driver who slammed into the family car and killed Jake Owen was fined $1,000, convicted of a pair of traffic offenses. He was using … [Read more...]